While this blogger loves dinosaurs, she has never been a particularly big fan of the Jurassic Park trilogy. Horror really isn’t her thing. Yes, she does read a fair bit of Dean Koontz, and she has posted reviews of his books here at Thoughts (when she gets around to it). But the fact remains that horror really does not appeal to her.
So you can imagine, readers, how well the Mithril Guardian reacted to being roped into watching the Jurassic World films. There was some whining and a lot of sighing, but the person asking me to watch the movie with them is a good friend. In the end, I couldn’t say no.
In the final tally, Jurassic World was about as bad as this writer thought it would be. Although she likes Chris Pratt as much as the next Marvel viewer, she knew going in that he probably would not be able to save the movie. It was nice to see him playing a serious role compared to his portrayal of Star-Lord/Peter Quill, of course, but good acting does not a good film make. And there was not a lot to recommend Jurassic World in the first place.
Honestly, I did not expect Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom to be any better. It looked to be an even bigger cash grab than its predecessor. The advertisement where Chris Pratt and his co-star try to bring his emotional support Velociraptor aboard a plane was funny and on point, but that was hardly an indicator of where the story would go.
To my considerable surprise, however, Fallen Kingdom was actually quite impressive. While I do not wish to give away spoilers, some must be given for context in this discussion. In Jurassic World we see that, after the previous disasters at Jurassic Park, it was decided to make another amusement park full of the prehistoric beasts. Because if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again, right? Besides, this park is on an isolated island off the coast of South America. So even if things go horribly wrong, the damage will still be confined. Right?
Yeah, well, that plan went about as well as anyone with half a brain would expect. There was carnage, mayhem, death – and, eventually, lawsuits. Not to mention a genetically engineered dino that killed for sport and preferred human flesh to that of its fellow dinos. The aptly named Indominous Rex was eventually killed, of course. But as with all dinosaurs, the bones remain….
But who can let any of that slow down the effort to protect the reincarnation of an extinct species? We already lost the magnificent “thunder lizards” once millennia in the past. Shouldn’t we expend every resource to keep them around, despite the danger they pose to man and (specifically) modern society?
These questions become quite pressing in Fallen Kingdom. You see, the volcano on the island where the remaining dinos live is on the verge of an eruption. Anything on the island when that happens will die – including, naturally, the dinosaurs. Unsurprisingly, animal rights’ activists jump into action to save the magnificent lizards from a second extinction. They are led by the former manager of Jurassic World, one Claire Dearing. Having broken up with Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) after rekindling their relationship at the end of the previous film, she is trying hard to save the remaining dinosaurs.
Meanwhile, Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), is on Capitol Hill urging Congress to let the dinosaurs die. Arguing that cloning them in the first place was wrong, he makes the eloquent point that genetic research and successful cloning has opened up a Pandora’s Box of possibilities for Hell on Earth. If they rescue the animals now they will lose any hope of preventing genetic (and saurian) Armageddon in the near future.
For once in collective Hollywood memory, the politicians actually make the right decision. They refuse to save the dinosaurs. Instead, they vote to let them go extinct once again.
Claire and her acolytes are devastated. But before the mourning can begin in earnest, she receives a call from Eli Mills, the assistant to Sir Benjamin Lockwood. Lockwood, one of the two men responsible for cloning the first dinosaurs, has a plan to save the as many of the thunder lizards as he can. And naturally, he wants Claire to help mastermind the secret – and highly illegal – rescue operation.
But Claire knows they need someone special to bring in the lone surviving Velociraptor from the previous film. The cream of the latest crop of clones, this raptor has shown above animal empathy and intelligence. Dubbed Blue, she was the beta of her pack until the fracas on the island left her alone. Who was the alpha of the pack? The man who trained her and the other raptors, of course: Owen Grady.
Despite his (second) break-up with Claire, Owen is currently building a family-sized cabin out in the California countryside. He is also not thrilled to see his former girlfriend, who insists he dumped her when it was the other way around. Initially, he sides with the government, preferring to let the dinos go extinct again rather than let them cause more death and destruction.
However, his ex knows his weakness and is not afraid to lean on it. She reminds him of Blue, insisting that he cannot leave her to die. Even though he knew Jurassic World was and is doomed to failure, Owen still has a strong affection for the Velociraptor. And although he tries to stick to his guns, it is a losing battle. When the plane takes off for the island, Owen is on it – well ahead of everyone else.
The rest of the story is an edge-of-your-seat, rip-roaring ride. As far as this blogger can recall, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is the only installment in the series to win her affection. And most of this is due to the two intertwining, timely themes that the film presents to audiences.
One is that nature always wins. Though it is spoiling the story a bit, the fact is that no one learned from the mistakes of the previous movie. Creating a genetically modified killing machine, which is what the Indominous Rex and its unholy progeny are, is to play God. Nature abhors anyone who messes with His order, whether they recognize that it is His or not, and sooner or later it always makes the meddler pay the piper. Fallen Kingdom demonstrates this to perfection, and it would earn two stars for that premise alone.
However, what makes it a five star movie is how it presents genetic manipulation in general. The testimony of Jeff Goldblum’s character highlights just how much potential this science has to ruin Earth and mankind if it is misused. While the initial effects might have a great deal to recommend them, the implications are more frightening than those produced by the first atomic bomb. If man isn’t careful, he could unleash real Hell on Earth, doing irreparable damage to himself and the world he calls home in the process.
These are surprisingly poignant, pointed themes to present to audiences today. With all the so-called “advances” being made in genetics, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom explores just a few of the issues that could arise if man stretches out for the forbidden fruit – again. This is one of the last movies I would have expected to go in this direction, but the fact remains that the story works surprisingly well and, thus, it earned my affection.
If you liked the original Jurassic Park films, then Fallen Kingdom should be right up your alley. And even if you think the franchise is overblown, I feel pretty confident in recommending this movie to you. Unlike many of Hollywood’s recently made sequels, this one is actually more than a crass cash grab. It is actually worth your precious time and, if you want to spend it, your money.
But don’t take my word on any of this. Pick up Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and form your own opinion of it!
‘Til next time!
The Mithril Guardian